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tv   The Chris Matthews Show  NBC  September 30, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT

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own variety show on nbc. where he had plenty of big-name company along the way. everyone from count bassy to tony bennett. ♪ there is no other life >> reporter: bing crosby and judy garland. ray charles. ♪ tell your mama, going to send you back to arkansas ♪ >> reporter: for a show that had a somewhat stodgy image among the younger generation williams welcomed new acts including the beach boys and even a singer from england >> ladies and gentlemen, elton john ♪ it's a little bit funny >> reporter: speaking of fledgling performers. >> what is your name? sammy reporter: who can forget andy williams introducing the very young osmonds? not that there wasn't sadness along the way. a friend of senator robert
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kennedy, williams sang at his funeral after his assassination in 1968. ♪ marching on >> reporter: after 14 years of marriage and shared parenthood with performer claudene longet the couple split in 1975 but williams stood by her a year later when she was tried and convicted of negligent homicide in the shooting death of a new man in her life, a professional skier spider savage. for the past 20 years, andy williams and his second wife debby made their home in branson, missouri where until last fall he performed at the nearby andy williams moon river theater six times a week. >> until next season then, may each day of the year be a good day. good night.
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>> osgood: andy williams was 84. next, actor and activist ed asner. and later... >> the 74th annual hunger games. >> osgood: a character actress with real character, elizabeth banks. into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or make 70,000 trades a second... ♪ reach one customer at a time? ♪ how do you help doctors turn billions of bytes of shared information... ♪ into a fifth anniversary of remission?
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>> for the last few days you've been doing a rotten job around here >> oh, mr. grant, i know. for the last couple of days i've been just a little off >> no, no, no, no, not a little off. rotten. >> it's sunday morning on cbs. and here again is charles osgood. >> osgood: ed asner played lou grant quite a demanding news room boss on the mary tyler moore show back in the 1970s. all these years later he's commanding our attention once again, this time in a brand new role on broadway. rit a braver has this sunday profile. >> i'll tell you what. i'll try you out for a couple of weeks and see if it works out. if i don't like you, i'll fire you. if you don't like me, i'll fire you. >> reporter: he found his way into our hearts playing the cantankerous but endearing news director lou grant on the mary tyler moore show. >> excuse me, ted. mary, would you please give those cue cards to this idiot. >> reporter: since then, he's played scores of tv and movie
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roles from santa claus in elf... >> your father, he's on the naughty list. >> no! reporter: ... to voicing the adventure seeking widower in up. >> i'll send you a postcard from paradise. >> reporter: but now ed asner is about to open on broadway. his name an obvious draw on the marquis. >> yeah, it's lazarus risen from the dead. >> reporter: i don't think so but i do think it's... your name is so familiar. >> oh, stop hyping me. keep it up. keep it up. >> reporter: but there's no need to hype ed asner. >> good-bye, cruel world. reporter: you have to be impressed just by the fact that at 82 he's climbing a steep flight of stairs every night to his back stage dressing room.
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he goes over his lines for a new play called grace. how do you describe the play? >> a wonderful exercise in theology, in discussing the existence or nonexistence of god. >> are you a jesus freak? reporter: take this scene with paul rut. dd who played a begunking-ho born-again christian >> i've got some news for you. all right. one, there is no jesus. really? two, there's no god. reporter: asner plays carl, a german immigrant who works as an exterminator. >> i have a tragic past. i carry a lot of guilt. >> reporter: but yet he manages to be both a comic relief and kind of one of a profound characters in this show. >> yeah. i'm a switch-hitter. >> i don't know who made the earth. i woke up one morning alive and it's here.
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i make the best of it. >> reporter: ed asner did not set out to be an actor. growing up in kansas city as the son of orthodox jewish immigrants, he made a name for himself playing high school football and was headed for a career as a reporter until a conversation with his journalism teacher. >> i wouldn't. he said why not? he said you can't make a living. oh, okay. okay. so i went on to become the overnight sensation as an actor that you see before you. >> reporter: in fact as asner told me in our conversation at a fame broadway restaurant, his assent was anything but overnight. after starring roles in college productions at the university of chicago, he dropped out to make it as an actor while supporting himself with odd jobs. >> my first job was in an auto
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plant in kansas city. they treated you like a slave. from there i went back to chicago, worked in steel mill, drove a cab stuff like that >> reporter: gradually he started getting parts in plays, film and tv. then in 1970... along came mary. mary tyler moore played an inspiring news producer with asner as her boss. he says he knew it would be a hit when they taped the first show and came to what would become a classic tv exchange. >> look, miss. would you try answering the questions as i ask them. >> when i got to the, you know what? you got spunk >> you know what? you've got spunk. >> it was so beautiful. oh, gee, golly. i hate, "i hate spunk."
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>> i hate spunk. that audience was like an animal. 00 people. they just roared. i felt like i could command them to walk off a cliff. >> reporter: the mary tyler moore show ran for eight years >> i think we all feed some clean ex- >> reporter: but that was not the last of ed asner as lou grant. the lou grant show was a hit too. >> what do you want to talk about? do you want to talk about journalism or do you want to talk about how long i take for lunch >> reporter: asner is the only actor to win emmys playing the same character in both a comedy and a drama. in addition to acting, asner has another passion. >> i favor the will of the people in el salvador. >> reporter: politics. you have said in the past that you feel that your activism ended up getting the lou grant show canceled.
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do you still feel that way? >> um-hum reporter: he became president of the screen actors guild but created controversy with his liberal stances. even today, asner is taking on hot-button causes, arguing against israeli settlements in the west bank. >> hi, i'm ed asner. welcome to architects and engineers. >> reporter: and narrating a video that questions official accounts of what happened on 9/11. >> nobody wants to hear destruction of the american myth that some elements of government were involved in 9/11. why did it take an hour for the strongest nation in the world to get planes in the air for an hour >> reporter: you underestimate incompetence? >> i guess it was all around that day. all around. >> reporter: do people say to you, okay, this guy is kind of a talented nut job? >> yeah. i'm old enough that i can say, yeah, yeah.
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>> thank you very much. reporter: of course asner isn't the only octogenenarian with political views >> i have mr. obama sitting here. >> reporter: what did you think of clint eastwood at the republican convention? >> i thought he was kind of cute. but i was distressed that his age was really betrayed by his performance. i don't want the public to see that frailty. i don't have it yet. when i do i'm sure there will be people like ed asner to tell me. >> reporter: no one is telling asner anything yet. do you ever feel like you're a really young person trapped in an older body? >> i am, i am, i am. they won't believe me. they wouldn't believe me. (humming) >> reporter: but you better believe it.
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ed asner is more than ready to take on the intense work of live theater. i just think a lot of people as successful as you are, they wouldn't put themselves through this out there every night >> well then they don't love acting. i love acting. >> osgood: next, actress elizabeth banks. chicken broccoli alfredo. bring out or best-ever meatloaf. go to for recipes, plus a valuable coupon. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. with less chronic osteoarthritis pain. imagine living your life with less chronic low back pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help.
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go to to learn about a free trial offer. go to elizabeth banks is a character actor who is quite a character herself in all the right ways. our tracy smith sat down with her recently for some questions and answers. >> just let him do it.
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reporter: she's created some of the more memorable roles on film like in sea biscuit. >> do the vows as written. yes, this relationship has been tested. and yet here we are. >> reporter: hero kurring guest appearance on tv's 30 rock got her an emmy nod twice. >> what's your name? i'm beth. reporter: and as a 30-something vixen in the 40-year-old virgin. she famously steamed up a bathtub scene. >> it's so hot in here reporter: in more than 50 roles on screens big and small elizabeth banks has made a career of taking smaller parts and stealing the show. you had small parts, big movies >> here's my problem like i am a character actress stuck in a leading lady's body. the industry keeps sticking me in this character role. it's a lot of fun to play those roles because i have a lot of
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leeway to do whatever the heck i want. i have a lot of fun with it. >> reporter: a case in point, essy trinket, the over-the-top official in this year's mega hit the hunger games. yep that's really banks underall that. >> where will i find it reporter: it was a role she had to fight for do you still will by for parts? >> i lobbied for that role for sure. i was patient but also persistent. i think patient and persistent is the way to be in this business. >> reporter: and persistence came early. born to a factory worker and a bank clerk, elizabeth marysol mitchell grew up in the working class part of pits field mama. young liz walked to school through these woods just like her father mark once did >> i made you guys suck it up. reporter: was that a large part of elizabeth's childhood cd sicking it up?
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>> i don't know. reporter: an important lesson she was busy falling out of trees >> reporter: and busy working like at the white horse inn where she was a chamber maid. >> very grounding to think about what you pulled out of the toilet in the bathrooms of this place. >> reporter: what did you dream you were going to be? >> i just dreamed i wasn't going to live here. >> reporter: really? i just dreamed i would have money >> reporter: she might have been a pro athlete until she shattered her leg in a school softball game. before that accident what did you think elizabeth was going to be? >> she could have been anything really. but i think that she would have been a much better ball player >> very important to dad me reporter: after college elizabeth mitchell hit the audition circuit to avoid confusion with another actress elizabeth mitchell she changed her last name to banks >> i cried when i had to give up mitchell because just like family pride. i felt really sad for my parents
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that they couldn't be like that's our daughter. really. because i don't have their name at all anymore. but then i remember that women give up their last names. i was never going to be mitchell. i was going to get married. some guy was going to give me his name anyway so >> reporter: well, not quite. in 2003 banks married the man she had met on the first day of college. sports writer and producer max handelman. she kept the name banks. and now she and her husband are partners in more than life. she coproduced a movie pitch perfect. >> without any instruments. it's all from our mouths. >> reporter: it's a comedy about the world of competitive akaka pell a singing. do you take this home with you? >> yes . 24 hours. this is exactly the type of performance you would expect the see at the international championship of collegiate acapella >> john you're so right
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everything else seems so wrong >> reporter: producer elizabeth banks gave herself a small part which true to form she made the most of. >> so true, john. nothing makes a woman feel more like a girl than a man who sings like a boy. >> pregnancy sucks. making a human being is really hard >> reporter: in this year's "what to expect when you're expecting," banks played a fed-up mom-to-be. but in real life she and her husband struggled with infertility >> most of our closest friends all had their, you know, started their families. we were trying and not, you know, so we felt... i think we just felt like we were falling behind. also i never meant to be an old mom. >> reporter: their son felix was born last year through a surrogate mother. >> you know, i've been married for nine years. my son is 18 months old. we meant to have a baby nine years ago. didn't happen. that's okay. it was a happy struggle because
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at the end we knew there was going to be some way somehow. a little person for us. >> now i'm going to warm up for you >> reporter: through the years you have done some risque scenes, let's say >> sure reporter: how do you feel about felix seeing some of those scenes some day >> you know, he's going to see a lot of worse things in his time, isn't he? i would rather he watch that than the news from 9/11 or afghanistan or, you know, it's a big, bad ugly world out there, kids. mommy has fun in a bathtub once. that's okay. >> reporter: but even with a career many actors would envy, elizabeth banks says she still is hungry and that her big moment has yet to happen. >> i feel like i haven't really had an opportunity to shine in what i do best >> reporter: to make your mark yeah reporter: it could still come i mean, i want to be jessica
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>> osgood: here's a look at the week ahead on our sunday morning calendar. tomorrow, the supreme court begins a new term. it will feature cases involving affirmative action, same-sex marriage, and voting rights. tuesday macarthur foundation announces its latest crop of half million dollar fellowships otherwise known as the genius grants. on thursday jerry sign kicks off a cross-country stand-up tour with a performance in new york his first since 1998. friday sees the release of the all-important september jobs report. and saturday features a pay-per-view on-line debate between jon stewart of comedy
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central and bill o'reilly of fox news. half the profits go to charity. but it's today that comes to mind at sunday morning. it is retirement day for our senior broadcast producer who has been at this broadcast since 1979. she has been part of our dna here for 3 years. a great deal of what we are is because she is who she is. they say no one is replaceable. whoever said that didn't know her. now she gets to catch up on all that leisure time she's missed. and we will miss her. more than we can say. we return now to bob scheiffer in washington for a look at what's ahead on "face the nation." good morning, bob. thanks for the debate piece this morning >> schieffer: well, you're quite welcome, charles. we'll be talking to governor chris christie annuity gingrich about know very thing, the debates. on "face the nation."
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>> osgood: thank you, bob. we'll be watching. who is our sunday morning profile next week? legendary rocker pete townsend. that's who. plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months, and keeps it clearer up to 9 months. [ male announcer ] because enbrel®, etanercept, suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b,
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>> we leave you this sunday morning amid cypresses along the texas-louisiana border.
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i'm charles osgood. please join us again next sunday morning. until then, i'll see you on the radio. captioning made possible by johnson & johnson, where quality products for the american family have been a tradition for generations captioned by media access group at wgbh krystal conwell : we see a lot of problems with the...
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number of students that we have. resources. materials. things that the children need... on a day-to-day basis. anncr: question seven will help. the department of legislative services says question seven... will mean hundreds of millions of dollars... for schools...from gaming revenues that would have... gone to other states. and independent audits will guarantee the money... goes where it's supposed to. krystal conwell: i think people should vote for question... seven because i think it will be a great benefit to children.


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